Making It Shine – Behind the Business with Vehicle Services Group

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  • Published
  • June 28, 2016

For those of us who love cars, there’s nothing quite like getting into a brand new one the very first time you pick it up from the dealer. Recreating that magical feeling takes an absolute ton of work, inside and out, so it’s good to know that there are people like Steven Trotter around.

Mr. Trotter is the head of Vehicle Services Group, a Detroit-area mobile auto detailing firm that takes as much pride in their work taking care of your car as you do in the car itself.

We interviewed Mr. Trotter in the first of our series on businesses that use GoSmallBiz business consulting, and we spoke about how the business got started, the joys of working in sub-zero temperatures, and what the future might hold for the company.

So, tell us about the Vehicle Services Group. What is it that you do and who are your customers?

Our company provides environmentally green mobile vehicle steam cleaning detailing services, implementing steam technology with clean energy biodegradable products for ridiculous removal of vehicle oriented bacteria. We service a very diverse client base consisting of residential, commercial, Municipal, Federal, State and corporate clients.

before and after image of car detailing by vehicle services group

How did you decide to get automotive detailing business?

Love of the outdoors and the freedom to chart our own path. No family legacy or anything like that! We definitely enjoy the opportunity to pursue continuous learning opportunities.

They say that to be successful you have to be passionate; why do you love what you do?

The motivation behind what we do is the immediate joy of satisfaction upon our clients face. We personalize the work effort put forth in restoring our clients vehicles to show room finish. We love detailing vehicles in the process of making clients feel good knowing their hard-earned money has been well spent.

Has it been smooth sailing or have you overcome adversity to get where you are?

From day one we faced continuous setbacks, financial challenges, etc., but as we head into year seven the hard work is beginning to show fruit!

before and after image of car detailing by vehicle services group

We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?

The most challenging time that really pushed our resolve to the extreme point of physical exhaustion was just last February. We were working in brutally cold temperatures for 6 straight days, detailing a 12-vehicle fleet owner by a commercial client. The work was being done in their garage, but at some point, their furnace went out. Words can’t begin to describe how truly hard that was mentally.

What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with that concept?

No time off at this point with spring and summer now upon us!

Are your business active on social media?

Well, our website is up and operational, but that’s about it from a social media standpoint. We’re active on Angie’s List and have built up a large residential client base that’s resulted in Vehicle Services Group being rated the #1 detailing service in the state of Michigan.

image of angie's list awards won by the Vehicle Services Group

How are you involved in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?

To put it simply, we’re proud to hire local people – which of course takes revenue, cash flow, resources, etc…

Why did you realize that you needed help with your business?

You always need help, but the most important step that was instrumental to our situation was the early hire of both our financial advisor and attorney. Really expensive but the greatest investment we could make!

How did you find GoSmallBiz and why did you decide to try them out?

Well, we needed our website and liked their business professionalism.

What do they enable you to do as a small business owner?

Get better daily, grow and commit to finding good people who welcome becoming a part of our hard-working team.

What does the future look like for you and your business?

Outstanding!  We’re moving in the direction of becoming a federally certified vendor along with securing the appropriate credentials as a woman-owned business with future potential to secure Federal contracts.

before and after image of car detailing by vehicle services group

Do you have any advice for aspiring business owners just starting out?

Don’t listen to anyone who hasn’t built a business themselves. Being around business isn’t the same as being in business, so make it a priority to seek out current business owners who finance their own companies. Anyone can tell you how to do it, but if they haven’t done it themselves…

Never quit as you can be just three feet from gold.

Content Manager at FS Local

Jesse is a typical class clown. Born and raised just north of the Toronto, he fell in love with the City on school trips to the ROM and the Science Centre. He tried Vancouver for a few years, but the call of home was too strong to resist. Today he lives in the North-East Upper Beaches. (What? It’s a thing!)

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